Sunday, November 8, 2009

Our last Frontier? Maybe…

The media in Uganda, and East Africa cannot ignore the interest that is coming from the rest of the world. And, apart from the New Vision which is refusing to ‘debate’ homosexuality, the others are kind of taking up the challenge.

Note, most of them need a little bit more grounding in things which we have known for a long, long time. Like the good Christians that I quoted on Ssanyu FM, not in support of the bill, in the interests of the government not policing morality.

Debate is good. That is why the Bahati Bill seeks to make sure that there is never debate about homosexuality in Uganda, under the guise of stopping the ‘promotion of homosexuality’
Yeah, debate is good,
but very predictable in Uganda. The Monitor seeks a ‘balanced’ approach. As I said, the govt paper, the New Vision is blind and deaf. Until someone in policy determines that something to do with homosexuality is ‘news’. The red rug is predictable. Sunday headlines were that 2 unnamed ministers were given 700 million UGshillings to ‘go slow’ on the bill.

That rug is really a rug. I mean, a slow news day, and homos to blame for something, and a transparent lie like that is printed. But, it has mass circulation, am told only second to New Vision. And, its ‘sensational’ headlines fall into the hugely homophobic ones. And are dangerous. Homos in Uganda are reputedly being funded from ‘abroad’, given money to ‘recruit’, etc, etc. So, we have this kind of money to give to two ministers who are entirely non essential to the passage of the bill?

But, people in Uganda will always believe that something is ok. Long as it is a ‘homo’ that is blamed.

Here is the East African’s article on our ‘last frontier’.

The gay community in Uganda has turned to social media — blogs, twitter, mailing lists and Facebook — in a bid to garner support for its opposition to the anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 that was recently tabled in parliament.

Saying that the media is openly biased and anti-gay, the community wants activists and evangelists worldwide to speak out against the “criminal and inhumane” Bill and write to the Association of Evangelicals in Africa.

On the Internet, the debate seems to focus on evangelism in and outside Africa and the role evangelists are playing or should play as the Bill awaits presidential assent to become a law.

Many people on a Facebook group formed by Dr Warren Throckmorton, an associate professor at Grove City College, do not approve of homosexuality, though they believe Christianity teaches freedom of conscience and freedom of speech.

“Obedience to the gospel, which pleases Christ comes from free choice and not from coercion of the state through laws like the proposed Bill” is what the Facebook group advocates.

The Bill is also being debated online as a public health and human rights issue by HIV/Aids, health based and human rights organisations.

The draft anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 tabled by legislator David Bahati seeks to impose strict sanctions on homosexuality and proposes a 7-year jail term for anyone who engages in it or who aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in it.

In Uganda, homosexuality, just like sex “against the order of nature,” is criminal and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Under the draft Bill, “promotion of homosexuality including publishing information or providing funds, premises for activities or other resources,” is also punishable by seven years imprisonment or a fine of $50,000.

If the Bill is passed, anyone found guilty of homosexuality would be forced to take an HIV test.

Online, the general disapproving view of homosexuality in Uganda is blamed on the country being largely evangelical and very Bible-based — with evangelists claiming that homosexuality is evil and sinful — hence calls on evangelists worldwide to act by speaking out against the Bill.

“They must address their fellow Christians of Uganda and tell them they must, in the name of God, stop this inhumane Bill from becoming law,” says a blogger on lgbtnews, the gay news blog.

It is alleged on Political Research Associates eNews that no view on the morality of homosexuality other than the evangelical view should be given consideration, that to be homosexual is sinful.

The Other Sheep, an ecumenical Christian ministry that works worldwide to empower lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals, talks of evangelical leaders who are out to perpetuate hate among African evangelicals against homosexuality.

One such leader is the US-based Rick Warren who allegedly told Ugandans that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right.

To the gay community, online evangelicals in Africa are on a witch hunt of homosexuals since most of them see homosexuality as evil and anti-godly.

On the Partners Uganda online forum, Edward Green, the director of the Aids, Prevention Research Project, Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies says the Bill sounds dangerous and completely inhumane.

He adds that such legislation is unenforceable and would only drive homosexuality farther underground.

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